This I Believe

Matthew - Briarcliff Manor, New York
Entered on June 1, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

There is a captivating documentary out on the lost children of Northern Uganda called Invisible Children. I stress the word lost not because they couldn’t find their homes but because they were forgotten despite what they were going through and seemingly invisible. I watched this documentary and with every second I became more and more imbued by it. I saw the grave condition that these human beings dealt with daily and directly following its conclusion, decided that in any way possible I was going to help these children. Help Uganda.

Months past, and I had still not yet given them help in any way. It seems as though with time things are easily forgotten; my passion for the subject when I watched it was lost and never translated into action. These children were out there in this world, living in different places every night, running away from the rebels forces, and I was merely sitting here in America, with abundance, and a roof over my head through each and every night.

A few weeks ago, I found out about, Displace Me, a project for the invisible children, it was my chance for action. Displace me galvanized people from all over the country to 50 locations to go and sleep outside in cardboard boxes eating only saltines, drinking only water, so that thousands could emulate for one night, the rugged life of a Ugandan child. It was the perfect chance to show my support.

It was soon after that I realized that one of the best high school lacrosse games that I was ever going to see was the same night. I had been looking forward to seeing these two teams play for about a month, and I didn’t know what to do. I think that if this choice presented itself right after I had seen the movie it would’ve been an easy one, but time made me lose sight of what was really important, and the decision became a very difficult one. Do I help others or merely do what I wanted? It’s easy to get immersed in myself and forget about others, especially when I would have to give up something that I’ve looked forward to for so long.

After long contemplation, I decided to go to displace me and not the game. It was one of the greatest decisions that I’ve ever made, and I am so happy that I acted for another and not just myself. I believe that losing me in something bigger than myself is the greatest virtue. That night I got poured on, my cardboard box house leaked and I was freezing; the lacrosse game ended up going to triple overtime and people quoted it as “the greatest game they’d ever seen,” and still I do not for a second regret my decision. I believe that if I immerse myself in something other than myself, I will never have regrets.